WWB Honors Indigenous Peoples’ Day

October 11th is Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and to commemorate this important day, we’d like to introduce you to our friends in the Shipibo community in Peru who supply our Cats Claw.

Food Disaster: Republicans Stomp on GMO Labeling

If passed, a new bill will only escalate the assault on our health, and the health of Planet Earth.

by Katherine Paul, Director of Communications for the Organic Consumers Association / AlterNet
July 14, 2015

With no debate and only a voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture today (July 14, 2015) passed out of committee H.R. 1599, a bill to preempt states’ rights to label GMOs. Within hours, it was announced that the bill will go straight to the House floor, as early as next week, with no vote in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

If we don’t stop it in the House next week, the fight to stop this “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts” will take place next in the U.S. Senate, before summer’s end.

In his opening statement this morning, Committee Chairman Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) (who shortly after today’s vote said he will co-sponsor H.R. 1599) couldn’t have sounded more like a Monsanto employee if he’d tried. Conaway nailed the biotech industry’s favorite talking points and mistruths, beginning with this one:

In testimony before this Committee, multiple representatives of the food and agricultural sectors commented on the cost burden that would be placed on our food system if we were to allow the 50 States, more than 3000 counties and nearly 20,000 towns and cities in the United States to establish their own laws regulating interstate commerce.

Time and again, independent experts have stated that the cost of labeling GMO foods and ingredients, to manufacturers, retailers and consumers, would be negligible here in the U.S., just as it has been in the more than 60 countries that already require labeling. GMO labels are costless, as pointed out in this Washington Postarticle. Companies regularly update their food packaging as they come up with new designs or marketing strategies.

And then there was the ultimate lie about GMOs, that they have been “proven safe:”

We all recognize that the overwhelming consensus within the science community is that these biotech products are safe. We likewise understand that each and every biotech product in the marketplace today has been reviewed thorough a voluntary food safety consultation process at the Food and Drug Administration.

Wrong. Ever since GMOs were introduced into the food system in the 1990s, without adequate, independent, pre-market safety testing, there have been scientists and studies and mounds of anecdotal evidence suggesting they are unsafe. The American Medical Association believes GMO foods should be subjected to pre-market safety testing. And there is surely no consensus, as hundreds of scientists worldwide have confirmed, on the safety of GMOs that have already been approved. That is a flat-out lie.

Conaway spoke instead about the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s “voluntary food safety consultation process” as if that were a valid means of proving safety.

Glaringly absent from Conaway’s statement was any mention of the toxic chemicals used to grow GMO crops, and allowed to remain as residue on GMO foods. Not one word was spoken about the World Health Organization’s recent determination that glyphosate, the chemical used on more than 80 percent of GMO crops, is a probably human carcinogen.

None of these statements, coming from a lawmaker with ties to Big Ag, were particularly surprising. But what should concern any consumer ,voter, citizen or just plain common-sense thinking human being, is that Conaway’s statement clearly focused on how to promote the profits of corporations, rather than on how to protect people from foods that have not been proven safe, and the arsenal of toxic chemicals used to grow them. It was all about “marketing,” and how we need a government program for food producers who want to voluntarily label their products as GMO-free, or containing GMOs.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has long been in the business of assisting producers to develop programs and tools to take advantage of market opportunities. The Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee recently examined the programs of the Agricultural Marketing Service. The Subcommittee concluded that the agency has the resources and expertise to develop and administer a robust marketing program for those wishing to notify consumers of the presence or absence of genetically engineered ingredients in their food products. What the agency doesn’t have is the law to make it work uniformly across the country like we did 25 years ago when we passed the Organic Foods Production Act.

Not one word on the devastation to the environment. Not one word on how chemical-intensive, fossil-fuel-intensive industrial agriculture is one of the largest contributors, if not the largest contributor, to global warming—and how if we don’t fix this system, we can’t be serious about averting a climate disaster.

As Pope Francis said recently, on the topic of genetic engineering and its use of toxic pesticides:

It creates a vicious circle in which the intervention of the human being to solve a problem often worsens the situation further. For example, many birds and insects die out as a result of toxic pesticides created by technology, they are useful to agriculture itself, and their disappearance will be compensated with another technological intervention that probably will bring new harmful effects… looking at the world we see that this level of human intervention, often in the service of finance and consumerism, actually causes the earth we live in to become less rich and beautiful, more and more limited and gray, while at the same time the development of technology and consumerism continues to advance without limits.

H.R. 1599 is an assault on consumer rights, an assault on democracy and states’ rights. And if passed, it will only escalate the assault on our health, and the health of Planet Earth.

Please help us continue to fight this disastrous and undemocratic piece of legislation.

Read more about this topic

USDA Gives First Non-GMO Verification

Minneapolis, MN—The USDA has verified its first non-GMO claim through its Process Verified Program(PVP). Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted that while the PVP itself is not new, this is the first claim of its kind to be verified through it. He added that other companies have taken interest in having their claims verified through the program.

PVP being used for non-GMO verification does not mean that the USDA has set its own non-GMO standards. Instead, the program has the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) act as a third party in verifying marketing claims, according to a statement from Sam Jones-Ellard, a spokesperson for the AMS. Jones-Ellard also noted that while the USDA’s organic certification process is also done through the AMS, the two programs will remain separate, meaning that even if a company is certified organic, they will have to go through a second process to have their non-GMO claims verified.

Excerpted from WholeFoods Magazine, July 2015, (online 5/26/2015)

Peruvian Partnerships featuring Whole World Botanicals, Inc. Alliance for New Humanity

Feb 2008 Newsletter

PERUVIAN PARTNERSHIPS – A new model of sustainable business practice that respects indigenous wisdom. Large corporations aided by a contemptible global economic system, perpetuate notoriously poor business practices in the majority world. From outsourcing production to ‘sweatshops’ in the Far East to appropriating bio-diverse rainforests for the timber trade, it seems there is no end to the lengths these businesses will go to pillage natural resources and in turn exacerbate climate change. But not all businesses are the same, and social entrepreneurship is one area where concerned individuals are setting a precedent for more sustainable, ethical and equitable business practices.